Average User Score: 6.8Mar 5, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Muse have never been the type of band that has a jam in the rehearsal room, come up with a few song ideas and picks out the best ones that should go on the album. No, Mr Bellamy knows exactly what he wants an album to sound like. It’s almost as if each Muse album shows just a snippet of what goes on in that man’s unpredictable mind. The 2nd Law can be summed up by listening to the first minute of the first track, Supremacy. It shows the two sides to Muse; the grandiose screeching guitar riffs and apocalyptic rhythms, but also the soothing symphonic passages which act as reflection scenes on the album. This first song is crying out to be the soundtrack to a James Bond film as it resembles Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir before it settles into the contrasting military-like march which leads you to believe Muse have skydived as 007 and landed into the aftermath of an epic sci-fi battle. The lyrics towards the end of this section suggest something is building up; “You don’t have long, I am on to you, the time, it has come” (are you ready?) “To destroy…” Prepare yourself as Bellamy exclaims “Your supremecyyyy!” with all of his might whilst being overdosed on voice effects. Ladies and gentlemen Muse have arrived. Their first single, from the album, released by the band was Madness, a real pop song with heavy influences of Queen. Chris Martin described it as “Muse’s best single yet” so obviously questions were going to be asked of the bands new sound. Madness is based around a pulsating synthesiser bass riff and contains reminiscences of vocal harmonies from Killer Queen, for example, and the guitar solo from I Want To Break Free, however this song explodes into life to create an emphatic bridge section with inspiring vocal melodies in which Bellamy is declaring he has realized his mistakes from a past relationship.
Muse do like to be unpredictable, don’t they? I don’t think anybody expected the band to kick out a track like Panic Station. A real powerhouse-funk jam which you can not help nodding your head to. Chorus-filled slap bass, drums with 80’s style gate-reverb and Matt Bellamy shouting and squealing like he’s just completely taking the mickey, like a British Michael Jackson, but funnily enough, it works. The synthetic brass in the background only adds to the brilliance of this track and they help it erupt into a stomping joy-filled groove.
Long before the release of The 2nd Law Muse were asked to compose a song for the London 2012 Olympics and for this reason it received the most radio airplay. Survival is a real classic Muse song, showing off the incredible vocal and guitar talents Matt Bellamy has in his locker. Introduced by the orchestral masterpiece that is the Prelude, Survival begins similarly to the start of the second section of Bohemian Rhapsody (note: another Queen reference), but then in comes the infectious drums and choir. On piano is Matt Bellamy before the song ruptures and he takes hold of his guitar and unleashes a shredding solo. The kitchen sink unit along with the ominous choir, with lyrics like “Race, it’s a race” and “I’ll reveal my strength” are really quite adrenaline pumping, very fitting for the occasion. The penultimate song The 2nd Law has to offer is Unsustainable, one that really sticks out from the album. It was an internet sensation at the time of its release. It starts with a thrilling orchestral section, which could be heard in a sci-fi adventure movie, and then in comes a news reel explaining the world’s energy resources are running out causing mass eruption. This is reflected in the upcoming section that is none other than dubstep. It’s Hans Zimmer meets Skrillex, or you could just call it the excellence of Muse. You can just imagine Bellamy tapping and scratching away at his ultra-cool science fiction-like guitar effects pad, which I guess is a reason against the idea of it being ‘real’ dubstep. You can still pick out the drums, bass, and of course the face-melting guitar which works to Muse’s advantage as it dismisses all arguments from people suggesting the band are copying modern artists. Isolated System is final song on the album offering more reason to believe that Muse are more than capable of writing film soundtracks. The electronic piece of music is pumped with more ‘end-of-the-world’ news reel clips, syncopated synthesiser sequences. It’s not quite the futuristic cowboy monumental finale that is Knights of Cydonia, from Black Holes and Revelations, which I guess sums up the whole album really. In The 2nd Law Muse have let their imaginations run wild creating some breathtaking moments and completely unexpected turns, which works to the albums success. However, whether it can compete with past albums, such as Absolution, I’m not so sure. Nonetheless, any die-hard Muse fan would not be disappointed as the band demonstrates their unpredictable talents yet again.… Expand